Netflix and Nike Align with a Streaming Fitness Package
Vanity Fair | December 30, 2022
The leading streaming platform and athletic apparel brand have joined forces just in time for that New Year’s resolution. If you open your Netflix app and search for “fitness,” you’ll find a slew of new workout videos urging you to get off the couch. The first batch includes 46 videos, but in time the full series will include 30 hours of motivating exercise routines across 90 videos. They range in length and level of expertise, and most do not require any additional equipment. All you need is your willpower!
The videos, produced by Nike Training Club, are available across all of Netflix’s subscription plans. They are also dubbed into four additional languages. One can only hope there will be case studies done to prove my hypothesis that a trainer counting in German will keep your heart rate higher than the Romance languages.
The first question you might be asking is: why the hell didn’t anyone think of this before? It’s not that online workout videos don’t exist (and there are plenty on other streamers, including Amazon Prime Video and Hulu) but a big fat program festooned with the famous Swoosh feels like something that can catch on, especially at a time when Netflix is pushing to raise subscription numbers with diversified plans.
From Nike’s point of view, it’s great access to a new audience, with Netflix’s 223 million global subscribers. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, Nike ended their premium membership with its Nike Training Club in 2020, and has been offering content for free on its app.
This reporter put on some sweatbands to do some heavy lifting of his Apple TV remote to do some firsthand investigating. The series Kickstart Fitness with the Basics seemed like a very good place to start. The first of the 13 episodes (most 11 minutes, some 20) introduced the upbeat lead coach, Alex Piccirilli, and her sidekick, the welcoming David Carson.
Alex is a Nashville, Tennessee-based fitness instructor, personal trainer, registered yoga teacher, and nutritionist. As someone who would prefer novocaine-free dental surgery than work one-on-one with a personal trainer, I found Piccirilli’s demeanor to be encouraging and agreeable. Carson, a Chicago-based former professional basketball player, is also extremely accessible as Alex’s hype man. They make a very friendly pair. (Their roles rotate, and other coaches are sprinkled in throughout each series.)
It’s also nice that the videos have a prominent countdown clock (in Nike’s Helvetica Neue font!) so you know when you can collapse.
I poked at the High Intensity Training series, too, and while I’ll confess I am in no way ready for that, I did enjoy seeing trainer Kirsty Godso introduce herself as “K.G.” and her sidekick Ariel Foxie actually dab during his introduction. Kirsty, Ariel, maybe I’ll see you guys in a few weeks after some time in the remedial classes.
Considering the deep pockets of both Netflix and Nike, it’s not unreasonable to think we might catch a stray celebrity joining in with the roster of current coaches, should the program expand. Imagine the publicity if Jane Fonda, whose Netflix series Grace and Frankie just concluded after seven seasons, were to make an appearance. Some of us still have the old VHS tapes.